Toddler Fish Food

OK, I'm gonna put myself in the running for mother-of-the-year with this afternoon's antics.

The day started off well enough; our babysitter's mother dropped her off at 9am, so we didn't have to pick her up (I am discovering the dreaded pick up/drop off is the bane of having an underage babysitter, and one of the reasons I prefer adults). T and I went into town to claim an awesome wood jungle gym/fort/swingset given to us by some acquaintances. I left in time to be home by noon, so I could take the babysitter home.

Unfortunately, W had just gone down for his nap at 11:30am, and woke up when I put him in the car seat, and never went back to sleep. So I had to deal with a tired-crabby toddler until T got home at 4pm. And then he tells me he needs to go out again to pick up the rest of the wood pieces. Grrr. I was in a pretty bad mood at this point, and decided that the best thing to do would be take W to relax at the lake for a few hours-- since he had no big nap I wasn't sure what time he'd be ready for bed, so I wanted to be close to home so I could get him home at the first sign of sleepiness. I also decided to feed him dinner at the beach. We usually have a picnic at Fridays After Five, so why not have our weekly picnic at the beach?

At 5:45pm, I found out why not. The sand. It was exponentially more difficult to feed him dinner at the beach than it is on a grassy lawn. Nevertheless, I got it done without him ingesting too much sand. It helped that I had decided to feed him a jar of baby food (I've been trying to use up the leftover jars from when he was a baby before they expire) and goldfish crackers. His hands, of course, were covered in sand no matter how many times I brushed them off. But I was able to keep the sand off the spoon, and it didn't seem to stick to the goldfish crackers, which was a lucky break for me. W got the bright idea to dip each little cracker into the baby food, but after a few I could see that the sand-to-food ratio would increase if he kept it up, so I got him to just toss the entire cracker in the jar of baby food and I'd spoon it out and feed him a cracker swimming in a spoonful of beef & carrot stew. Dinner of champions, my friends.

Even with me feeding him, he wound up getting baby food all over his face and torso. Luckily, we were not at a swimming pool, where I'd have to take him to the showers before getting back in the water. No, we were in a stocked pond! Where the fish could eat the beef stew right off his flesh when we waded back in!

Or at least, that was my idea. Let the little fish nibble him clean. But they never really got the chance, since the baby food washed off immediately upon touching the water. The orange stain from the food didn't come off (rendering the boy oh-so-attractive with the greasy splotches all over), so I was still hopeful that the fish would come and eat that off. But W was too happy to be back in the water; swimming around, jumping, splashing, so the fish wouldn't come anywhere near him. They did nibble the baby food splotches off of ME, however, so my plan was sound, it was just the execution that didn't work out.

After spending the late afternoon and early evening floating in the water under a not-too-hot sun, we were both more relaxed and in a good mood. W was singing to himself in the back seat on the way home, and fell asleep back there within a few minutes, and stayed asleep when I carried him in and up to his bed. So despite spending most of the afternoon watching his mother play video games, and eating baby food and crackers for dinner, the boy went to bed happy. The child psychologists say that's all that really matters in the long run. Give'm a happy childhood, and the nutrition and video games and the rest of it will work itself out over time. . .